In the five years since their last record, the duo of Erlend Øye and Erik Glambek Bøe have each been busy, Øye with DJ gigs and his other band the Whitest Boy Alive, and Bøewith his day job and fighting Clear Channel in their hometown of Bergen, Norway. Getting back into Kings of Convenience mode sounds like it was as easy as putting on a fresh pair of socks. Their third album, Declaration of Dependence, sounds like it could have been recorded at the same session as Riot on an Empty Street; it's just as relaxed, mellow, and dreamy. The pair's voices blend like honey and more honey, each of them possessing vocal chords made of cotton candy. They twine their voices around complex but warmer-than-a-Snuggie harmonies on every song; the comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel still hold up, though by now they really sound most like themselves, and not imitators. This album is sparser than the last; there are no guest vocals and very infrequent extra instruments (strings, piano). It gives the proceedings a very intimate sound, between this, the duo's hushed voices, and the peaceful songs, it's even quieter and more subdued than anything they've done so far. The mood of introspective reflection never breaks, and almost becomes unbearably powerful on a track like "My Ship Isn't Pretty." Bøe and Øye pull no punches and spare no emotions, they are skilled veterans who know how to format and pace an album. The only thing the record lacks is a song as catchy as "I'd Rather Dance with You," or any songs with drums. It's not really a problem, though, since the overall effect of the album's melodies adds up to something just as powerful. A few of the songs stand out as possible singles, too, like the bossa nova-y "Mrs. Cold" or the almost peppy anti-war song "Rule My World." The lack of drums isn't much of a problem,either, the acoustic guitars that underpin the songs provide all the rhythmic push they need. Adding drums might have spoiled the introspective and feather-light feel of the record. Anyone who's been on their bandwagon all along will be glad of that, as they'll rejoice that Declaration of Dependence turns out to be another autumnal treasure from the Kings.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra